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RECREATION ALLOWED IN WASHINGTON STATE
Smoothing out the Bumpy Roads with the KINEKT Seatpost

Story and photos by Steve Giordano
High on Adventure, May 2020

 

Bike terrain is rarely smooth
The terrain of life and bicycling is rarely smooth KINNEKT photo

Coping with stay-at-home COVID-19 restrictions and maintaining the 6-foot-distance rule when doing approved errands, well, you know how tough it’s been. And there’s no quick end in sight. Fortunately for me, Washington State allows for some outdoor recreation like walking and bicycling if you’re in the pursuit of exercise and don’t mingle with other people. Families and their dogs are “doing the walk” all over town, in the parks and on nearby trails. Bikers are more singular, just out on their own. Early on it became fruitless to bike in parks and on trails where so many people walk. It just made for too many risky scenarios and some annoyance from people who felt their personal 6-foot space was being violated. So the better part of biking wisdom is to stick to wide neighborhood streets and main roads with bike lanes. That avoids any risk of close encounters and that’s what I’ve been doing nearly every day.

Before all this started, I was in the Bellingham, WA KINEKT Seatpost https://cirruscycles.com assembly and shipping plant one day, arranging for a seat post demo on my bike. Back issues had once again reared their ugly heads. I asked, “Hey, did you ever know of John Howard the basketball star who took to bike racing? Did really well too.” We were talking about how the woman who just set a bike speed record of 183 mph - this was in a vacuum created by a towed trailer with no floor or back. It turns out her bike had a KINEKT Seatpost on it. So I said, “Wow, just imagine if John Howard had had one of these in his day”, and the guy said, “John Howard was the woman's coach!” Small world. John's probably about my age.

After I test rode the KINEKT for a couple of weeks, I could sure see its value in the racing world, especially if my smoothed-out experience was any measure of what back comfort can contribute to speedy rides.

 

Using two springs, KINEKT seatposts are designed to move vertically, not horizontally, keeping the saddle in place. The 35mm of friction-free vertical motion buffers the rider's up-and-down "bumpy" movements over rough terrain and makes the ride much more comfortable. This spring-incorporated seat post mitigates bumps and vibrations, and noticeably reduces back pain and muscle fatigue.

Interchangeable springs and easy ride adjustments allow the rider to tune the suspension to their needs, and can even be made on the fly to accommodate changing terrain. Just about any saddle can be mounted on a KINEKT Seatpost..

The spring thing, by the way, is awesome - I can't believe the difference in comfort. They had me do three test rides and made adjustments after each based on my comments. There were bumps I felt in the handle bars that I didn't feel in my bum. On a gravel trail the comfort factor is remarkable. Of course, I felt bigger bumps no matter what, but no more need for the gel cushion or sheepskin seat covers.

 
Kinekt springs
 
     
$250 KINEKT Seatpost with springs
 

These are attempted remedies I've tried over the years without much success. Notice the little shock absorber in my stock seatpost - it helps a little bit.

  Bare bicycle seat   Sheepskin bicycle seat cover   Gel bicycle seat cover  
 
Bare-bones saddle
Sheepskin cover
Gel cushion over sheepskin
 

Happy buns, happy back. The two angulated springs, each with a different tension, make for a way more comfortable ride. Bumps felt in the handlebars aren't felt in the rear - well - depending on the size of the bump. The surfaces that are best smoothed out by the KINEKT are gravel trails with staccato small bumps and irregular pavement. The seat has 35 mm of play which can be felt by the up-and-down bouncy movement. Y'know how when you're pedaling easily and your feet get going too fast so your seat bounces? With this setup, it's exaggerated, so if you just shift up a gear to keep the pressure on the pedal, that disappears. It's practically a divine intervention.

There was a young kid in the shop the day I was there - well, maybe he was 30 or so - who offered me more info about backs on bicycles than my cycling doctor had shared. It gets technical, but he explained in detail that my idea of sitting straight & tall on a bike seat was not a good idea. I'd adjusted my handlebars so that I could sit upright, and he re-adjusted them back to the factory setting. And he wasn't the guy putting the spring under the seat - he just got interested in the conversation & jumped in.

  Bellingham pump track   Bellingham pump track  
One of Bellingham's pump tracks, on the grounds of the former Georgia Pacific, now the city's Waypoint Park

My doctor had encouraged me to sit upright on a bike because he said leaning forward would encourage my back to sag, thus making the discs compress in the wrong direction. Maybe that's true more on a racing bike with the drop-down handlebars. But in any lean you can hold whatever posture you like, straight spine being best. What the guy explained in the shop that day is that while upright is fine for posture, every bump is going to jam straight up your spine because all your upper body weight is on your butt. Any lean forward will put some of that weight on your arms, with some of the shock going thru your hands and arms to shoulders, hence less stress on the spine.

At that point in the explanation, the other guy said, "Remember, bicycling is NOT a natural activity." Then he promoted walking as actually better for the body. The back-explainer said a stiff straight-up spine is not natural either, that a bit of a bend forward while tilting your pelvis back is better. That meshes with my Healthy Knees Cycling (https://www.betrainingtennis.com/healthy-knees) instructor telling us to sit way back on the seat & tilt your pelvis back a bit.

  Galbraith Mountain Road   Galbraith Mountain Road   Galbraith Mountain Road  
Mountain terrain can change without much warning. This is Galbraith Mountain Road near Bellingham, WA

So anyway, enough with the physical therapy/posture/chiropractic lessons. The next day’s 8-miler was so much better than my average rides. I realized that now I would be able to inflate my tires up to normal...Usually I pump 'em up once a week, but I hadn't in a few months just to have more cushion.

It's possible that turning my handlebars upright may have been the source of my back problem in the first place, that sitting bolt upright caused the lumbar pain. Oddly, throughout two months of physical therapy, it’s always the daily bike ride that makes everything feel better.

  Kinekt seatpost locked to bike  
Bike with no seat
 
 
Lock your $250 Kinekt to the bike...
...so you don't have to carry it with you.
 

What Cirrus Cycles says:

The BodyFloat/KINEKT Seatpost was born out of necessity by co-founder Paul Barkley after serving in the Peace Corps on the rough roads of Uganda. While bicycle evolution was clearly not the mission of his return trip to Africa, he found it essential to improve his endurance in the saddle while traveling extended distances on two wheels. As an excellent bike mechanic, former frame designer, fabricator and bike shop owner, he invented the first version of the Isolation Seatpost. This design became the basis of the current KINEKT Seatpost; a technically advanced isolation system that dramatically improves the comfort and performance of any bike and any rider. Cirrus Cycles Inc was formed to bring the seatpost to market and a patent for the product was issued to the company in 2014. https://cirruscycles.com/

KINEKT'S next improve-the-ride venture is a similar spring system for the handlebar post, available by summer, 2020.

 

 

 
     
 
 
 
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